The Q&A Archives: Storing Transplants

Question: I was visiting family in Atlanta and they gave me a magnolia seedling and a nandina seedling. Since it's mid-winter, I don't want to try to transplant them to my yard now. Can I store them until early spring? If so, what is the best way to do so? If not, should I plant them immediately and just give them lots of TLC?

Answer: Assuming they are in pots, I think the best would be to keep them in a cool greenhouse or possibly a coldframe until the weather settles in the spring. Next choice would be planting them in a location away from wind and hoping the weather stays mild. If it turns bitter cold, try using a heavy mulch over the roots and perhaps some straw or oak leaves and burlap around the tops -- something to break the wind and insulate somewhat but still allow some light and air through. Apart from the actual change in outdoor temperatures, I am a bit worried since they came from so far south that they may not be as winter hardy as something grown from parent stock accustomed to being further north. Good luck with your seedlings!

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